Wasn’t Vatican II enough?

The Church in Pittsburgh, as in many other areas, is shrinking. To give what some think is another kick in the head, a plan is afoot to install yet another layer of bureaucracy between parishioners and their Bishop. This would take additional priests out of their parishes and cause the unnecessary closing of more churches.

A recent opinion was sent to the Bishop of Pittsburgh:

Most Reverend Bishop:

First of all, thank you for the opportunity to comment. Only the blind can fail to see that, since Vatican II, our seminaries have been emptied, those convents and monasteries that have not disappeared are increasingly vacant, and the number of priests decreases relentlessly. The number of Catholic baptisms is dropping, and overall Catholic population reports are inflated by large numbers of illegal immigrants and “counts” that bear false witness by inflating the actual number of practicing Catholics.

It is hard to see how the peculiar “reorganization” now being contemplated, interjecting a layer of “Vicars” between you and your priests, will solve any of those problems. In fact, it can only make things worse.

“The Church Alive!” (Who thinks of these names? Labels with exclamation points usually, if not invariably, accompany projects of dubious worth.) seems to take precedence over “Thou shalt not kill.”, which never needed to be followed by an exclamation point. Few Catholics know, and even fewer are told from the pulpit, that many birth control chemicals work by killing the tiniest of babies. When Roman Catholic Bishops around the world start telling Catholic mothers and fathers to stop killing their own children, the Bark of Peter will carry more passengers than ever.

As those on the Titanic knew, rearranging the deck chairs will not keep a ship from sinking. But, if the Captain of the Ship is willing to get his hands dirty and actually fix the holes in the hull, we who invisibly labor below the decks will man the pumps and enthusiastically do our part to keep the boat afloat.

It would be wrong to be less than frank. It is actually disturbing (the word “sickening” first came to mind) to watch the waste of your time, considerable talents, and the money we donate, to shuffle priests into yet another layer of bureaucracy that will further separate your flock from you. In the best secular organizations, top administrators focus on cutting out layers of bureaucracy, rather than adding to them. That “flattening”, found in all effective organizations, has been facilitated by computers that allow for rapid transfers of information. It’s hard to imagine how adding another supervisory layer, especially to an organization that is shrinking both in numbers and properties, is either the best, or the soundest, management. Some will think it an indication that the person at the top really doesn’t want to be bothered focusing on the real problems, like declining Church attendance, dropping birth rates, restoring Catholic Schools with cyber-solutions, and shepherding Catholic politicians who vote to fund abortion, but wants to put off that hard, hard work, using what many will see as an excuse, “First, we must solve the Imaginary Problems, with which I feel more comfortable.”

A great mystery to many: For more than a century, this Diocese was much, much larger in every way. It had more parishes, more priests, more parishioners, more schools, more students, more convents, more Sisters, more monasteries, more Monks, more hospitals, more employees, and many more properties. If it could have been run so successfully for so many decades by Shepherds with smaller staffs and with no computer-automated procedures, why can’t it be run even more efficiently and directly today?

One cannot help but suggest that if you, Most Reverend Bishop, were to spend as much time and energy in publicly, strongly, and frequently condemning birth control, abortion, and every other soul-destroying practice desired by the culture of death, both the born and unborn in Your Diocese would be helped far more than by disrupting your (and, our) organization for no sound management gains.

On the other hand, there are advantages. Any bureaucracy-centered project is sure to attract the sort who love to embrace the illusion of “progress”, no matter how ultimately useless it may be. And, it provides a great way to identify kiss-ups. Such people can be relied upon to do three things, underestimate the costs of the project, make excuses for the inevitable monetary overruns in operating and staffing of what appear to be several “mini-dioceses”, and be very, very sure that you get little, if any, negative feedback.

As our Bishop, a Prince of The Church, you have every right to do as you will. We who are faithful must, as Scripture commands (Hebrews,13;17), “Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls.” We who are faithful will not jump ship no matter what you do. We, especially converts who have first-hand experience with the lunacies far beyond the pale, know well the answer to Peter’s question, “Where else can we go?”

Your ship is slowly sinking, but the deck chairs are still above water. Many are eager to rearrange them. Others would prefer that actual problems be addressed and solved. It is your call, Most Reverend Bishop, to decide what will do the most good with the time and resources available.